Just eight per cent of consumers in the UK, US, China and Brazil own and use smartwatches and fitness trackers, according to a survey of 4,000 people by analyst CCS Insight.
Of those surveyed, 75 per cent are aware of smartwatches and fitness trackers. However, only five per cent of people surveyed own and use a fitness tracker, with smartwatches lagging slightly behind at just three per cent.
Many people said they hadn't bought a smartwatch because they didn't see the value of them and the prices were too high, while a large number of respondents also indicated that measuring sporting activity was of less interest than tracking health and well-being factors, such as sleep and heart rate.
"The results not only demonstrate a need for the industry to better communicate the benefits of smartwatches and wearables, but also to market their products in ways that suit users' preferences and extend their market reach," said CCS in a statement.
"There's also high likelihood the fitness tracker market will be cannibalised by smartwatches or subsumed into smartphones."
George Jijiashvili, wearables analyst at CCS Insight, added: "While global awareness of wearable devices is very high, consumers' overall knowledge of the products and subsequent conversion to sales are very low. Consumer electronics companies primed for success urgently need to address the gap between the public's awareness and ownership by clearly communicating the benefits wearables can offer."
The top reasons for not purchasing a smartwatch were that people don't see the point (cited by 34 per cent) and high prices (mentioned by 29 per cent).
Those planning to get a smartwatch say they will do so because they are interested in technology (50 per cent) and some of the functions appeal to them (49 per cent).
37 per cent of respondents were interested in sleep, heart rate, temperature or blood pressure, while a quarter were interested in counting calories.
Of those fitness tracker users who said they don't plan to upgrade their existing wearable device, 22 per cent said they'd use a smartphone to perform the same function and 14 per cent said they plan to use a smartwatch.